Closing submission Stage 1 Hearings of Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions

Closing submission by Iranian Canadian Congress

Stage 1 Hearings of Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions



Statement on Recent Escalation of Tensions in West Asia

Statement on Recent Escalation of Tensions in West Asia

Last week’s Israeli forces missile strikes targeting the Iranian Consulate, which also damaged the Canadian Embassy in Syria raised major concern within the Iranian Canadian community. Such breaches of united nations resolutions and violations of international law, which should have been condemned, led to Iran's retaliatory strike against Israeli military installations on April 13th.  

We implore the Canadian government to champion the enforcement of UN Resolutions regarding Palestine and actively promote peace, equity, and stability in the region. 

Comments Regarding Public Hearing Remarks by Mr. Hamed Esmaeilion

The following letter has been sent to the Commission Counsel of the Public Inquiry Into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions:


We are writing to express our concerns about certain comments made by Mr. Hamed Esmaeilion during the Public Hearing on March 27, 2024. 

We wish to clarify that our organization holds immense respect for Mr. Esmaeilion’s advocacy for the families affected by the Ukrainian Flight PS752 tragedy, as well as his pursuit of justice and accountability. Since the tragic incident in which the civilian airliner was shot down by the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), our organization has consistently expressed solidarity with the victims' families. We have also advocated for the federal government to ensure full accountability for the Canadian citizens and all innocent lives lost, in accordance with international law and civil aviation conventions. However, we find the following remarks concerning. 

Mr. Esmaeilion stated: 

“A very small minority of Iranians in Canada are engaged directly or indirectly as either sympathizers or sometimes even overt operatives of the Islamic regime. It’s a small minority, however, leverages financial advantages that mostly originate from inside Iran and political backing advantages that -- political backing from the Islamic regime to create institutions disguised as community advocacy groups, media, social media, or even research institutes, but effectively seek to undermine the majority of the community that opposes the regime, as well as to meddle with the influence Canadians or influence Canadian government and non-government institutions in favour of the regime’s agenda.” 

This claim broadly categorizes diverse organizations and individuals within the Iranian Canadian community as having illicit ties to the Islamic regime, without providing concrete evidence. It is critical to question such allegations, especially when considering Canada’s legal and security frameworks that would address any such 'overt operatives'. 

Further, Mr. Esmaeilion commented: 

“Just recently, a member of the Iranian community in Canada sought to run for as a member of the federal Parliament. The intensity of the smear campaign against him went far beyond the normal fervor of political competition in Canada. We believe that this is indicative of a much  more sophisticated and multi-layered attempt by the regime and its operatives to hinder the participation of Iranians opposed to the regime in the Canadian democratic institutions.” 

In this instance, Mr. Esmaeilion seems to refer to a recent Conservative Party nomination race in Richmond Hill, for which he has not provided any evidence of foreign interference yet. According to publicly available information and reports, the campaign against the mentioned member of the Iranian Canadian community appears to have been a domestic initiative by Canadians, including those of Iranian heritage, rather than a result of foreign meddling. Notably, a Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario emerged as the most vocal opponent of the individual who was referred to by Mr. Esmaeilion. It is essential to recognize that Canadians of all ethnic backgrounds have the right to freely participate in civic activities, supporting or opposing political candidates as they see fit.  

In a democratic society such as Canada, members of political parties should not be intimidated by potential retaliatory accusations of foreign interference by their opponents. We hope that the commission will require Mr. Esmaeilion to provide evidence and will thoroughly investigate the merit of the claim of foreign interference in the internal procedures of the Conservative Party of Canada, through all available channels. 

In addition, Mr. Esmaeilion stated: 

“We have organizations here that they don’t have any relations with the civic organizations in the community, with the cultural organizations in the community like Tirgan civic association, civic organizations like us or even political members of the community like our Parliament member, Mr. Ali Ehsassi, but they are everywhere, and they get funded by -- unfortunately, by our governments.” 

This statement suggests a biased view that legitimate Canadian entities are only those affiliated with certain cultural groups or political figures. By not mentioning other Iranian Canadian members of parliament or the many cultural organizations of the Iranian Canadian community, it fails to recognize the diversity within the Iranian Canadian community and undermines the legitimacy of various organizations that operate independently of the mentioned affiliations. Furthermore, the commission may take note that the Canadian government’s funding of organizations that “don’t have any relations with the civic organizations in the community”, does not, per se, indicate foreign interference. 

We trust that the commission will exercise utmost caution in evaluating these claims and will mandate that all witnesses substantiate their statements with evidence and factual data. 

Our apprehension stems from the potential for such claims to perpetuate long-standing internal divisions and conflicts within various diaspora and ethnic communities, including the Iranian Canadian community. Historically, certain factions within the Iranian Canadian community have engaged in discrediting individuals of Iranian origin based on their political beliefs and opinions, often leveling unfounded accusations of association with the Islamic Republic. This has particularly affected young Iranian Canadian activists including second-generation Iranian Canadians and civil society organizations with progressive and left-leaning stances on foreign policy, subjecting them to baseless defamation and smear campaigns, typically without any evidence.  

The primary source of discord in our community stems from differing views on Canada’s foreign policy toward Iran. Iranian Canadian activists who oppose military action or sanctions, citing their detrimental impact on the Iranian populace and regional peace and stability, are frequently discredited by hardline political factions. These factions prioritize regime change in Tehran over all else, disregarding both Canada’s interests and the potential harm that increased instability may inflict on the people of Iran and the broader region. We are concerned about the potential misuse of the commission’s public hearings by some parties, by framing and exclusion, to limit the diversity of expressed opinion by Iranian Canadians. 

We oppose those assertions, by Mr. Esmaeilion, that conflate foreign influence with the legitimate and varied perspectives of Canadians of Iranian descent. We unequivocally support his appeal for the federal government to actively pursue and investigate corrupt Iranian officials who seek refuge in Canada, along with their illicit financial activities. Our organization has been at the forefront, leading the Iranian Canadian community in advocating against the laundering of corruption proceeds within our borders. This advocacy underscores our commitment to uphold justice and integrity, not just within the Iranian Canadian community, but also in safeguarding Canada’s financial system against such abuses. 

In closing, we express our deep concern regarding the potential misapplication of the Commission’s esteemed platform to propagate personal biases and unsubstantiated claims. Such actions could detract from the Commission’s fundamental objective of conducting a fair and fact-based inquiry. We place our trust in the Commission’s commitment to thorough, objective, and unbiased examination of all testimonies and evidence. It is our hope that the Commission will handle these sensitive matters with the high level of diligence and impartiality they demand, ensuring that the inquiry remains a credible and respected instrument of justice and truth-seeking. 

ICC Granted Standing at Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes

We are pleased to inform you that the ICC has been granted standing at the Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes in Canada. This is a crucial opportunity for us to actively participate in ensuring the transparency and fairness of our electoral system.

As an organization dedicated to advocating for the rights and interests of Iranian Canadians, this is a pivotal moment for us to contribute to safeguarding the democratic process in our country. However, we cannot do this alone.

In order to effectively represent our community's concerns and interests at the inquiry, we need your support. We are reaching out to our members, donors, and supporters to ask for your assistance in this matter.

Here's how you can help:

  1. Financial Contributions: Your donations will enable us to cover legal expenses, research costs, and other necessary expenditures related to our participation in the inquiry. No amount is too small, and every contribution makes a difference.

  2. Spread the Word: Please share this news with your networks and encourage others to support our efforts. The more people we have standing with us, the stronger our voice will be.

  3. Volunteer: If you have expertise or skills that could be valuable to our efforts, we welcome your volunteer assistance. Whether it's legal expertise, research skills, or outreach support, your contribution can have a meaningful impact.

  4. Stay Informed and Engaged: Keep up to date with developments related to the inquiry and participate in relevant advocacy efforts. Your engagement is vital in ensuring that our community's concerns are heard and addressed.

We are committed to representing the interests of Iranian Canadians and advocating for a fair and transparent electoral process. With your support, we can make a meaningful impact at this critical juncture.

If you would like to contribute or get involved, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] .

Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to the Iranian Canadian community.

Statement regarding the recent escalation of conflict in the Red Sea

Iranian Canadian Congress expresses disappointment in Canada’s decision to participate in the US-led military operation in the Red Sea. Given the exceptionally heightened tensions, these military interventions pose a significant risk of escalating West Asia into a full-scale war, which would be catastrophic for all parties involved, particularly the civilian population throughout the region.  

For over three months, Canadians have been fervently urging their elected representatives to advocate for an immediate and lasting ceasefire to bring an end to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. It is imperative for the Canadian government to demand a ceasefire alongside South Africa in the International Court of Justice against the genocide in Gaza and call for the immediate removal of the blockade affecting the fundamental livelihood of the Gaza population, including access to clean water, food and medication.   

We urge Canada to assume a constructive role in the region, fostering implementation of UN Resolutions, peace, justice and stability rather than contributing to war and destruction. Canadians seek a sustainable ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, fearing the potential expansion of the conflict into neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Iran.  

Participating in military actions that jeopardize Canadian lives and perpetuate the loss of innocent men, women, and children in West Asia offers no benefit to Canadians and is instead a stain on Canada’s global reputation. It is crucial for Canada to prioritize diplomatic solutions and actively work towards a peaceful resolution in the region.  

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The federal government's position on the Kerman terrorist attack

The federal government's position on the Kerman terrorist attack:
“Canada unequivocally condemns the attack in Kerman, Iran. We send our condolences to the families of victims and wish a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured. We welcome full investigations to determine responsibility for this act of terrorism and hold the perpetrators to account. Today, and every day, Canada stands with the people of Iran.”
پاسخ دولت کانادا به کنگره ایرانیان کانادا درباره موضع دولت در قبال حمله تروریستی داعش در کرمان:
کانادا به صراحت حمله در کرمان ایران را محکوم می کند. ما به خانواده های قربانیان تسلیت می گوییم و برای مجروحان شفای عاجل و کامل آرزو می کنیم. ما از تحقیقات کامل برای تعیین مسئولیت این اقدام تروریستی و بازخواست عاملان آن استقبال می کنیم. امروز و هر روز کانادا در کنار مردم ایران ایستاده است.

Statement on the 4th anniversary of the downing of flight PS752 and the recent terrorist attack in Iran

As we are approaching the fourth anniversary of the downing of Flight PS752 by IRGC missiles, we commemorate the victims of this tragedy as well as those killed this week in the terrorist attack for which ISIS has claimed responsibility in Kerman, Iran. 

As Prime Minister Trudeau rightfully noted in 2020, “If there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families." 

It is crucial to acknowledge that the first victims of war and conflict are innocent civilians. Furthermore, as the tragic incident of Flight PS752 has shown, any threat to innocent lives in Iran is also a threat to Canadian lives. 

Tensions are extraordinarily high, with the United States, Iran, and Israel going on the brink of a regional war that would be disastrous for all involved, including civilian populations across the region. 

We urge the government of Canada to condemn this attack and express solidarity with the people of Iran. Acts of terrorism anywhere in the world inherently oppose humanity, morality, and global unity, and are to be strongly condemned. 

The ties between Canadians and Iranians run deep, necessitating that Canada plays a positive role in the region to foster peace and stability. This includes pursuing a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, drawing on Canada's longstanding tradition of mediation and diplomacy. 

In the face of this tragic and devastating event, it is imperative to stand together as a community—united and strong. Let us share our compassion, empathy, and connectedness while sympathizing with the grief-stricken families who have lost their loved ones. 

We extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish recovery for those injured in the terrorist attack. 

Iranian Canadian Congress  


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ICC Letters & Statements 2023

Letter from Minister of Foreign Affairs for using the term "Persian Gulf" in their communications

In January 2022, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs used a fake term for the Persian Gulf during a series of tweets.
The Iranian Canadian Congress protested this issue in various ways and shared this protest with the members of the Canadian Parliament.
Last week, Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia,MP, sent the official response of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada to Mr. Mohammad Vahidi Rad, a member of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Congress of Canada.
In an official letter, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Ms. Melanie Jolly, while acknowledging the permanent name of the Persian Gulf in her official letter, in a way explained the tweet of the Foreign Affairs  to a physical border and emphasized that the federal government also uses and will use the term Persian Gulf in their communications regarding the body of water. 

در ماه ژانویه 2022 وزارت امور خارجه کانادا در طی یک رشته توئیت از عبارت جعلی برای خلیج فارس استفاده کرد.
کنگره ایرانیان کانادا از طرق مختلف به این موضوع اعتراض کرد و این اعتراض را با نمایندگان پارلمان کانادا نیز در میان گذاشت.
هفته گذشته، آقای فرانسیس اسکارپالجیا، یکی از نمایندگان کهنه کار پارلمان کانادا، پاسخ رسمی وزارت خارجه کانادا به اعتراض آقای محمد وحیدی راد، عضو هیات مدیره کنگره ایرانیان کانادا را به ایشان ارسال کرد.
وزیر امور خارجه کانادا خانم ملانی جولی طی یک نامه رسمی ضمن اذعان به نام همیشگی خلیج فارس در نامه رسمی خود، به نوعی عمل سال گذشته وزارت امور خارجه را به مرز سیاسی تشبیه کرد و تاکید داشت که دولت فدرال نیز از عبارت خلیج فارس استفاده می‌کند و خواهد کرد.

Suicide prevention guideline for media

Foreign media outlets are widely publicizing articles in Persian regarding cases of suicide, without following proper guidelines for responsible reporting. Irresponsible media coverage of suicide can potentially lead to what is known as "suicide contagion" or the "Werther effect," where the reporting of suicide incidents can increase the risk of copycat suicides. 


رسانه های فارسی زبان خارج از ایران اخبار خودکشی را به طور گسترده وبدون رعایت پروتکل های خبری منتشر می کنند. انتشار غیرمسؤلانه اخبار خودکشی دررسانه های پرمخاطب، عواقب خطرناکی برای جامعه به همراه دارد که یکی از آنها به عنوان «خودکشی تقلیدی» یا «اثر ورتر» شناخته می شود. پرداختن به جزییات خودکشی وبزرگنمایی وقهرمان سازی، موضوعاتی است که ممکن است افراد مستعد را ترغیب به خودکشی کند. در مواردی دیده شده که افراد از نحوه خودکشی افراد مشهور کپی برداری کرده اند.  


Les médias étrangers diffusent largement des articles en persan concernant des cas de suicide, sans suivre les directives appropriées pour un reportage responsable. Une couverture médiatique irresponsable du suicide peut potentiellement conduire à ce que l'on appelle le "contagion suicidaire" ou l'"effet Werther", où le reportage sur les incidents de suicide peut augmenter le risque de suicides imitatifs. 

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About Us

The Iranian Canadian Congress is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-religious organization established in 2007 to represent the interests of Iranian-Canadians and encourage their participation in Canadian society.

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45 Sheppard Avenue East, Unit 900

Toronto, Ontario, M2N 5W9

Email: [email protected]a

Phone: 647-539-4344

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